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Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it beca...
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Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it became a division of General Mills.

Darden is most closely associated with its two largest restaurant brands: Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Both of those chains now have more than 600 locations. The company's attempt to diversify its restaurant holdings has had mixed results. In 1995, Darden shut down an internally developed Chinese restaurant chain called China Coast. Since its spin-off, Darden has also created a barbecue and sports bar-themed restaurant group called Smokey Bones, a Caribbean-themed chain called Bahama Breeze, and a higher-end group of restaurants called Seasons 52. The company announced its intention to sell its Smokey Bones restaurants in May 2007, admitting that the brand did not have the potential to become a national chain. In August, Darden agreed to purchase Rare Hospitality International, which operates the LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille restaurant chains, for an estimated value of $1.4 billion.

Clarence Otis, who took over the company from long-time chief Joe Lee in 2005, serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Darden posted $5.6 billion in annual sales in fiscal year 2007. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DRI.
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Top Darden Restaurants, Inc. Articles

Displaying items 12-22
  • Olive Garden putting tablets at all its tables

    Olive Garden putting tablets at all its tables
    Olive Garden will put tabletop tablets in all 845 restaurants nationwide starting in May, allowing customers to order appetizers and drinks from the devices. Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has been testing the tablets at a few Central Florida Olive...
  • Hello, Ruby Tuesday: Restaurant chain opening regional office

    Hello, Ruby Tuesday: Restaurant chain opening regional office
    Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday is opening a regional administrative office in Orlando, Gov. Rick Scott's office said Monday. The Maryville, Tenn.-based chain plans to employee about 45 people and spend $250,000 on the new space. The new office, which...
  • More often, calorie counts are on the menu

    More often, calorie counts are on the menu
    Something new is arriving on restaurant menus across Central Florida, and it isn't intended to fuel appetites. Darden's Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze chains are testing menus that list calories for each item, ahead of a federal calorie-count mandate set...
  • Darden says seafood free of slave labor

    Darden says seafood free of slave labor
    Darden Restaurants is confident seafood from supplier Thai Union did not involve forced labor, a company spokesman said last week. An Associated Press investigation published in March said a supplier of Thai Union imprisoned fisherman on boats...
  • Darden says seafood supply free of forced labor

    Darden says seafood supply free of forced labor
    Darden Restaurants is confident the seafood it received from supplier Thai Union did not involve forced labor, a company spokesman said Wednesday. An Associated Press investigation published last week said a supplier of Thai Union imprisoned fisherman on...
  • Darden's Orlando HQ on the market

    Darden's Orlando HQ on the market
    Darden Restaurants plans to sell its 6-year-old, $152 million corporate headquarters in Orlando and lease back the building in a long-term deal. Darden has hired a real estate broker to market the 465,000-square-foot Restaurant Support Center campus on...
  • Walk in park raises money to fight AIDS

    Walk in park raises money to fight AIDS
    If he hadn't been wearing a T-shirt that said "I may have AIDS, but AIDS doesn't have me," only his closest friends would have known that Michael Pinto was infected with the potentially deadly virus. That's the point. "I try to live as normal a life...
  • Investors hungry for Darden stock

    Investors hungry for Darden stock
    Wall Street investors are liking what they see from Darden Restaurants these days – so much so that they've driven up the company stock in recent months. The stock price of the casual dining company (NYSE: DRI) closed at $68.71 a share in...
  • Darden serves up better profits, restaurant sales

    Darden serves up better profits, restaurant sales
    Darden's turnaround under new leadership appears to be taking hold as restaurant sales were up during the past three months, even at struggling flagship Olive Garden. CEO Gene Lee said Friday that profits and sales were up at all seven restaurant...
  • Olive Garden tests web check-in, call-ahead seating

     Olive Garden tests web check-in, call-ahead seating
    Olive Garden isn't quite ready to take reservations, but the Orlando-based Italian chain is testing a plan to let customers call or check in online to get on waiting lists. Olive Garden began testing the idea this week at 13 restaurants in Central...
  • Red Lobster debuts new downtown HQ

    Red Lobster debuts new downtown HQ
    Red Lobster moved to its new headquarters downtown Friday and out from under the roof of longtime corporate parent Darden Restaurants — a change that leaders say gives the seafood chain greater independence. Red Lobster finished moving 300...